Advantages of MAPI with Exchange Server

I'm mostly a *nix person and occasionally dabble in the MS world.

What features does MAPI provide over just using IMAP to access an Exchange Server?  Is it mostly stuff like synchronization of tasks, email etc?

Also, do later versions of Exchange (ie: >=2003) have native support for Blackberry devices?
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MAPI has:

Direct live connection to the Mail Server
Shared Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes and Free/Busy information for scheduling
Public Folders
Out Of Office Assistant
Server Side Rules and Alerts
Access to Outlook Web Access via any Web Browser
Optional Server Side SPAM Management

There is no native support for Blackberry devices on later versions.

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TintinAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the clear concise list.  Wish MS would do the same on their website.
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